during pregnancy

Listen Up, Pregnant Women: Science Says You Need Naps, So Listen to Science

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I’m not much of a napper myself. You know when you take a nap and wake feeling confused, more tired, and slightly full of rage? It me. My body doesn’t appreciate small increments of sleep. But when I was pregnant, I was practically narcoleptic, and used to nap all the time! Not intentionally, most of the time, but still. When your body is busy growing an actual human, it’s important to get as much rest as you can. And not just for your own sake! A new study suggests that pregnant women who take regular naps are less likely to have a baby with a low birth weight. If you don’t nap for yourself, nap for your baby!

Pregnant women need lots of rest, everyone knows that. Growing a baby is hard work! But there’s another, even more important reason they should be napping on a regular basis.

tired good night GIF

Image: Giphy

The Healthy Baby Cohort Study found that pregnant women who took regular naps were less likely to have a child with a low birth rate. This is important, since low birth rates have been shown to increase the likelihood of health complications in childhood and adulthood. A low birth rate is considered anything under 5.5 pounds at birth.

Researchers in China looked at data from 10,111 participants in the study.

They found that when a pregnant woman regularly napped for an hour to an hour and a half in the afternoon, she was 29% less likely to deliver a baby with a low birth weight. Additionally, napping 5 – 7 days a week decreased that likelihood by 22%. These findings are particularly important, says Dr. Suzanne Karan of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. Dr. Karan is part of a team investigating the link between a baby’s health and their mother’s sleep habits. Dr. Karan says, “This napping study is another signal that paying attention to sleep is an important part of your overall pregnancy health. Pregnancy is like a stress test that shows what health problems you could have later in life, so it’s important to pay attention and treat it now.”

So listen up, pregnant moms: take a nap. Take several! Remember, you’re only going to get more tired after the baby is born. Relish in all the sleep you can get now.

(Image: iStock/dolgachov)